Black-legged Kittiwake

The Black-legged Kittiwake is a small, white and grey seabird that belongs to the gull family. It gets its name from its distinctive call, which sounds like “kit-ti-wa-ke.” This bird has been categorized as a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to its stable population.

# Basic Description

The Black-legged Kittiwake measures around 39cm in length with an average wingspan of about 90cm. The upper parts of their body are light grey while their underparts are white. They have black wingtips, and their legs are bright yellow, making them easier to spot on rocky cliffs or water surfaces.

# Where To Find This Bird

This seabird can be found in coastal areas across the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans. During breeding season, they inhabit rocky cliff edges where they nest in large colonies known as “kittiwake cities”. Some notable locations where you can spot these birds include Iceland, Norway’s Lofoten Islands, Greenland’s Disko Bay and Alaska’s Pribilof Islands.

# Habitat

As mentioned earlier, kittiwakes breed along rocky cliffsides near open waters. They prefer areas with easy access to food sources such as shallow marine waters that contain fish such as capelin or sand lance which make up most of their diet during breeding season.

# Food

Black-legged Kittiwakes primarily feed on small pelagic fishes such as capelin or sand lance throughout the year but also consume other prey items including squid and crustaceans depending on availability during different seasons. These birds rely heavily on sea ice edges for foraging since this provides more abundant fisheries than ice-free areas during winter periods when daylight hours are limited.

# Cool Facts

One fascinating fact about Black-legged Kittiwakes is how they cope with harsh weather conditions associated with living close to Northern latitudes. They have a specialized salt gland that enables them to drink seawater without suffering from dehydration. This adaptation makes it possible for them to survive when freshwater is scarce during their nesting season.

In conclusion, the Black-legged Kittiwake may seem like a small bird, but they play a significant role in marine ecosystems. They are remarkable creatures that have adapted to unique habitats and harsh weather conditions while still managing to maintain stable populations across their range. If you happen to come across one of these birds on your next trip near coastal areas, take some time to observe and appreciate their beauty!